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Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know

15 Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know

When it comes to our health, there are obesity statistics Australians should know about.

Obesity is a growing health problem in many countries around the world. Australia, despite its ideal weather, vast landscape, and surfable waves, is not immune to the global obesity problem.

Australia is unfortunately one of the fattest countries in the world. Australia’s adult obesity rate is at a record high of 66%. 26% of Children (2-17 years) are also overweight. This means that Aussies are much more likely to have a BMI in the overweight or obese range than to be within it! Lack of sleep can be blamed for the rising obesity trend in Australia. 40% of Aussies do not sleep 7 to 9 hours per night, which is recommended! ).

It is not surprising that the Government of Australia and the Public Health Sector are trying to reduce the rise in obesity.


Key Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know From 2022


How common is overweight and obesity?

In 2022,

  • Overweight or obesity affects 26% of children aged 2-17.
  • Approximately 66% of adults over 18 years old are overweight or obese.

How does overweight and obesity change over time?

  • In 2022, the proportion of children and teenagers aged 5-17 who are overweight or obese increased from 25% to 28%. This is a continuation of a steady rise since 1995 (20%).
  • In 2022, the proportion of adults who are overweight or obese will drop slightly from 66% to 65%. This is a slight decrease from 2016-17. The trend of increasing obesity rates since 1995 (57%), largely due to the rise in overweight people, has continued.
Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know
Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know

How does overweight or obesity vary by populations groups?

  • In 2018-19 74% of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and First Nations adults aged 18 or over and 38% First Nations children and teenagers aged 2-17 lived with obesity.

In 2022, after adjusting for age:

  • More adults living in Inner Regional (68%) or Outer Regional and Remote Areas (70%) are overweight or obese than those in Major Cities (64%).
  • Adults in lower socioeconomic areas are more likely to be overweight or obese (68%) than those in higher socioeconomic zones (60%).

How does Australia compare internationally?

  • In 2022, Australia ranked 10 th among 21 OECD nations for the percentage of adults aged 15 or older who are overweight or obese.
  • Australians are more likely than average to be overweight or obese.

What are the health effects of obesity or overweight?

In 2018,

  • The second most important risk factor for ill health or death is obesity (including overweight).
  • Overweight (including obesity), was associated with 30 diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders and type 2 diabetics.
Overweight Person About To Exercise
Overweight Person About To Exercise

Are you a coffee lover? Want interesting facts? Read: Coffee Statistics Australians Need to Know

Strategies for overweight or obesity

  • The National Preventive Health Strategy (2021-2030) and the National Obesity Strategy (2022-2032) are action frameworks to prevent, treat and reduce overweight or obesity. They include measurable targets for reducing the prevalence of obesity and overweight.
  • The current monitoring of targets shows that obesity prevalence in adults over 18 years of age and obesity or overweight in children 2-17 have been stable since 2017-18.
  • One third of Australian are obese, which is equivalent to 8.3 million Aussies with a BMI over 30kg/m.
  • 14,56 million Australians have a BMI above 25kg/m. This is equivalent to 57.30% the entire population. One out of two Australian are overweight or obese.
  • Two thirds of Australian Adult are obese or overweight. In numbers, this is 13.10 million Australian Adults or 67%.
  • One in four Australian children and adolescents (age 2-17) are obese – this is more than 1,46 million Australian children.
  • Australia is ranked 5th in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) for obesity rates.
  • Tasmania has the most overweight people of any state in Australia.
  • The Australian men in particular have the second-highest rates among 23 OECD nations, working out to 32 %.
  • Researchers have found that people who move to Australia within 15 years are more likely than others to become obese.
  • Weight statistics in Australia reveal that obesity costs Australia 11.8 billion per year in food and medical expenditures.
  • In Australia, obesity-related diseases cause 140 premature deaths each day.
Overweight Person In Swimming Suit
Overweight Person In Swimming Suit

Want to learn more? Read: 16 Sleep Statistics Australians Need to Know

Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know Findings

1. Australia is experiencing an obesity epidemic

  • Two thirds of Australian adults (66%) are overweight or obese. Of those, 36% are overweight, and 31% are obese. Australia defines adults who have a BMI of greater than 30kg/m as obese and those with a BMI over 25kg/m as overweight.
  • Australia’s obesity rate has been increasing steadily over the past 25 years.
  • The number of Australian adults with severe obesity has increased to 9%. This is equivalent to 2.2 millions people.

2. The average Australian pays $678 for obesity!

  • The overweight population in Australia accounts for 8.6% health expenditures and reduces the labour market outputs to the equivalent of 371,000 full-time employees per year.
  • Each Australian pays an extra AUD 678 per year in taxes to cover the costs associated with lowered labor outputs and excessive healthcare expenditure. As a result, Aussies pay more even if they are not overweight or obese.

3. Smoking is the second leading cause of death in Australia, followed by obesity

  • Smoking causes an average of 20,000 deaths in Australia per year, while obesity-related illnesses cause 50,000 deaths. That’s at least 140 deaths prematurely due to obesity.
  • A result of Australia’s obesity crisis, Australians also live 2.7 years shorter than the average world population. Australian obesity statistics predict 123,000 premature deaths per year in the next 20 years if these numbers do not improve. That’s 73,000 more than what they are now.

4. Over 60 chronic diseases are linked to obesity

  • The more weight an individual carries, the greater the risk.
  • Around 16,700 Australian deaths are related to diabetes each year. This represents 10.5% of the total deaths in Australia.
  • Type 2 diabetes is 80 times more common in obese people.

5. Australia’s male population is among the most obese in the world

  • Australian men have the third highest weight in the world. The US and Chile are ahead of them. It’s not surprising that more than 70% Australian men in their middle age are overweight.
  • Aussie men have the second highest obesity rate in the OECD, with 32%. This is just behind the USA at 38%.


6. Australia is the 5th fattest country in OECD

  • Australia has the highest obesity rate of any OECD country, just behind Mexico, New Zealand, United States and Finland.
  • Around the globe, there are 650,000,000 obese people. Australia is responsible for 4% of global obesity statistics. However, the Australian population makes up only 0.33%.


What causes obesity in Australia?

7. Obesity and poor sleep are linked

  • Sleep health and poor sleep is affected by obesity. Obese individuals are more prone to sleep apnea and other sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome, hyperventilation, snoring and sleep apnea.
  • In addition to being overweight, a lack sleep can also lead to weight gain. Insufficient sleep has been linked to obesity, according to studies. This is because adults who are sleep-restricted have a greater appetite and consume more calories.
  • Sleep problems affect 33-45% Australians, and these people could be the cause of 67% of Australians being overweight.

Ensuring you do sleep well and get the right about of sleep certainly has its benefits!

Source: Very Well Health

8. Australians are not immune to emotional eating

  • Overeating or binge eating is a common problem for people who struggle with their emotions.
  • One in ten Australians indulges in emotional eating, binge-eating, or out of control eating at least once a week. That’s roughly 2.5 million people who suffer from emotional eating disorder.


9. The findings show that obesity is linked to specific age groups, genders and classes

  • The lower classes and the poorer neighbourhoods are said to be the main causes of obesity in the world. It is believed that the lower classes can’t afford fresh, nutritious food because they lack wealth.
  • In Australia, men tend to be heavier than women. Around 74.5% Australian men are overweight, compared to 59.7% women.
  • As Australians age, they seem to loosen up. The Australian obesity statistics reveal that both men and woman over 55 have higher obesity rates. The obesity levels of men peak between the ages of 55 and 64, while those for women are at 65-74.

10. Sedentary lifestyles are the main cause of obesity in Australia

  • Australians sit for an average of 10 hours per day! Sitting down for too long can reduce your body’s ability to burn calories and increase your risk of becoming overweight or obese.
  • Nearly 70% of Australian adults confess to leading a sedentary life or one with low levels of activity, which is correlated to 67% of obese Aussies.

11. The majority of obese people can’t lose weight by exercising alone.

  • The excess weight on the body can put too much strain on the vital organs.
  • Even if they exercise the same amount, overweight people find it harder to exercise than those without excess weight.

12. Media is partly responsible for obesity rates in Australia

  • Yale University psychologists say that the media may be responsible for Australia’s increasing obesity rates. They claim that magazines and newspapers over the years have used images of thin models to promote eating disorders and emotional eating.
  • Yale psychologists claim that media images of obese people (such as them slamming food in their faces or slouching on sofas) actually encourage people to gain weight. This is because they feel ashamed by how the media portrays them.

Obesity and growing up in Australia

13. Rates of childhood obesity in Australia

  • Children are not immune from Australia’s obesity crisis. Around one in six children aged 4-15 is overweight, and 1 in fourteen in this age group are obese.
  • 25 % of Australian children and teenagers are obese. Without a rapid intervention, they will likely remain obese into adulthood.

14. Rates of teenage obesity in Australia

  • One in four Australian adolescents is overweight, and those who fall into the category of obese have a greater-than-80% chance of becoming obese adults.
  • The hormone changes can make it more likely for a teenager to gain weight, become overweight, or obese. Gonadal hormone changes in females can lead to an increase in body fat, which is exaggerated by those who are already obese.

15. The BMI of immigrants who remain in Australia is more likely to be high.

  • According to studies, male and female migrants who have lived in Australia longer than 15 years are more likely to have a higher BMI and be obese than those immigrants who have only been in Australia less than five years.
  • The average BMI for those who spent 15 years in Australia was 27.3 for males and 26.4 in women. Those who spent only 5 years in Australia, had BMIs that were 25.3 for males and 23.2 in women.


Obesity Statistics Australians Should Know Summary

You can see by the statistics above that Australia is in fact experiencing an obesity epidemic. The statistics about obesity in Australia are alarming, but the numbers continue to rise. The number of obese Australians is predicted to rise to 80% in the next decade, despite the numerous health problems obesity has already been associated with.

You decide if you want to eat that cake or snack on something a bit more healthy?

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